‘We’re Still Here,’ Worried Auburn Road Businesses Tell Customers
With Auburn Road construction due to continue through July, small business owners between Ryan and Dequindre are asking customers to continue their support and not be deterred by tedious detours.
Summer can’t come quick enough for small business owners on Auburn Road in Shelby Township.
Just one month into what promises to be a messy, albeit necessary reconstruction of Auburn Road between Ryan and Dequindre, area businesses are already feeling the loss of customers deterred by orange barrels and barriers.
“It’s a complicated procedure and definitely has affected business,” said Doris Mukalla, owner of the International Book Centre at 2391 Auburn Rd. “Drivers see the barriers and stay away.”
While parts of Auburn Road are still accessible, the road will be completely closed to through traffic at the height of construction. However, almost all businesses are accessible via side streets and the Macomb County Department of Roads says it does plan to "maintain access to all residential and business properties during the construction process."
But Darris Brown, owner of Candlelight Wedding Chapel & Banquet Hall at 2108 Auburn Rd., still considers himself fortunate to be situated on a corner.
“Luckily for us we have access on Dequindre to our plaza, but we have had a few concerned brides and grooms,” Brown said. “I’ve been as busy as ever, but I feel bad for businesses down the road.”
One of those businesses is K&W Cycle, located on Auburn Road near Ryan.
“Our floor traffic has been down because of (the construction),” said Robbie DeMeulenaere, K&W Cycle sales manager. “People are still under the assumption that the whole of Auburn Road is closed, even past Ryan.”
Like several other businesses along Auburn, K&W Cycle is reaching out via its website, providing customers with an alternate route to the all-terrain vehicle dealership.
“From Westbound M-59, take exit #48 Dequindre Rd. Turn left and travel through Dequindre for 1 mile on E. South Blvd/Dobry Rd. along M-59. Turn left on Ryan Rd. Drive North 1 mile to Auburn Rd. Turn right and our driveway will be on the right,” the website recommends.
Chirping Pets and Friends at 2516 Auburn Rd. asks customers to “please use side streets during the Auburn Road construction" – namely Waco Street.
“We are so sorry for this inconvenience but it is out of our control,” the website reads. “Thank you for your patronage and understanding.”
But with construction scheduled to continue through July, Mukalla said she worries whether her bookstore and neighboring businesses can survive.
"There are lots of one-of-a-kind type of stores on this little road," she said, adding that construction hasn't really even started on her end of Auburn. "I don't even know what's going to happen once that gets underway. It’s hurting all of us. Hopefully we can make it until July."
Mukalla hopes to boost her online business to make up for the loss of walk-in traffic but asks customers to not let the construction deter them from supporting the local businesses along this stretch of Auburn.
"We're still here!" she reminds customers.